4 February 1998
618 Wyndhurst Avenue #2, Baltimore. MD 21210


U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Reports Plans for Spending
First $800,000 of $7 Million Authorized by Congress Over
Next 5 Years To Study Link Between Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
& Gulf War Illnesses

In 1998, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, CDC & EPA Will Fund:

  • A "Consensus Building" Conference on MCS and Related Disorders
  • Development of a 5 Year Research Plan on MCS and Link with Chemical Exposures in Gulf War
  • Expanded Research Into the Health Effects of Chemical Mixtures
  • New Interagency Coordinator in HHS Office of Public Health and Science
  • On 15 January 1998, the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Public Health and Science very quietly released a high-level "Report to Congress on Research on Multiple Chemical Exposures and Veterans with Gulf War Illnesses." It was written by Dr. John Eisenberg, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and Administrator of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. Congress requested the report in 1998, as part of its initial funding for a 5-year 7-million-dollar civilian research program into Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and its association with both the symptoms of Gulf War illnesses and the chemical exposures encountered in the Gulf.

    Surprisingly, the Federal Interagency Workgroup on MCS--whose own research recommendations are expected in March--had never heard of this report or the Congressional funding behind it until informed by MCS Referral & Resources, a non-profit organization in Baltimore which has been tracking the government's response to Gulf War Syndrome since 1994.

    "After years of the VA and Defense Department (DoD) denying MCS cases and refusing to treat them," said MCS R&R director Albert Donnay, "we're delighted that civilian agencies with more public health expertise will now be leading a multi-year research effort based on a clear congressional mandate." The Congressional appropriation was added in committee at the request of Representative Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has long been concerned with MCS related to toxic exposures among both Gulf War veterans and civilians.

    Dr. Eisenberg proposes spending $300,000 in fiscal year 1998 for a "consensus building" and research planning conference, $400,000 to for research into the health effects of chemical mixtures, and $100,000 for an Interagency Coordinator in the Office of Public Health and Science. The lead agency for this research will be the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, which by its own accounting is already spending millions per year on MCS-related research ($13 million on 88 projects in fiscal year 1995, the latest year for which data have been released).

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